What to check before going on the road with your caravan

It is vital that before you take your caravan on the road you ensure that is legal and compliant. While there are many things to check, we highlight a few below but stress that this list is not exhaustive.
Tyres Firstly, lets start with tyres. These are probably the most important parts of the caravan and towing vehicle with regard to safety, ride and handling. They are the vital items that connect your vehicles with the road surface, to provide traction for cornering, acceleration and braking. Tyres must be correctly sized and constructed to suit the loadings they will be subjected to. Also important is the pressure, this should be set to that advised for a fully-loaded condition The wheel-nuts should be fully compatible with the wheel hubs and studs and tightened in the proper sequence, to the correct torque, using a torque-wrench. Finally, check the overall condition of the tyre to ensure the tread is legal and there are is no damage to the side walls. Outside the caravan Check that the chassis is free from damage, cracks (structural members and welds) and rust. While you are looking underneath check that the underside is free from damage, timber rotting and unprotected wiring and tubing/hoses are in good condition. Inside the caravan Firstly, test all your appliances and systems properly: gas, 230 volt ac and 12 volt dc. Then fill the water tank(s) using a hose at pressure and check all lines and connections for leaks. Check the condition of your fire extinguisher(s), Smoke-detector(s), CO [carbon monoxide] detector and First Aid kit. Checking your car It is highly recommended that you have a qualified mechanic inspect all of the safety-related items on the vehicle you use for towing, but there are a number of things you can check yourself:
  • Are the tyres including the spare in good condition, and at the correct inflation pressure?
  • Are the brakes in good condition and provide straight-line stopping on a hard stop?
  • Is the Tow-Bar in sound condition?
Once you have connected the van and towing vehicle:
  • Are the vehicles level (in a side view)?
  • Is the Jack approved, in good condition and suitable to raise each tyre from the ground?
  • Are there prescribed jacking-points, to positively locate the Jack, on each side?
  • Ensure the brakes are working correctly, on both dry and wet roads
  • Are extended mirrors required, and if so, are they secured and adjusted correctly?